Nearly a year ago a Swedish ecologist sent about 3,000 water bears into space to see if the animals could survive the harsh conditions without any sort of protection.
Before you let your imagination run too wild, these aren’t water-lovin’ Winnie the Poohs. Water bears are unique microscopic invertebrates—tiny, segmented animals with eight legs. (But Winnie better watch out because they are SO cute!)
Ingemar Jönsson sent the tardigrades into space for a twelve-day trip, where the organisms were studied. As he and his colleagues recently published in the journal Current Biology, the little buggers not only withstood the dehydration presented by the space vacuum, but also the cosmic radiation. The research suggested that some sustained radiation damage but managed to repair it.
Just another totally awesome thing about these kleiner Wasserbär? Not quite. Researchers are well aware of water bears’ ability to survive many types of extreme environments here on earth. But if further study can figure out how they repair genetic damage, then scientists hope to apply the findings to cancer patients suffering repercussions from radiation therapy.Share Post: | Stumble | Share on Facebook | Tweet This |